City seeking resolution fo VFW Park mowing, maintenance concerns
The Tonganoxie City Council was asked Monday for help with maintaining a longstanding gift to the community.
VFW Post 9271 member Larry Meadows refreshed the council on the history of VFW Reusch Park through a packet of material, including a 1995 story from The Mirror, and a letter. The material documented a 1995 agreement between the city council and VFW to share in the mowing and maintenance of the park if the VFW purchased the property and developed the park.
In the letter, Meadows reminded the council the property had once been a filling station with a small salvage yard. He said he purchased the property from the Merle Reusch family and had it deeded to the VFW with provisions the city would get title to the property should the post close.
Despite the 1995 agreement, the city has not mowed or maintained the park. Meadows said Jerry Bretthauer was now mowing and maintaining the park. However, the VFW’s insurance agent has informed the organization that Bretthauer would not be covered by the VFW’s insurance because he was not a VFW member.
With the city having not budgeted the park’s maintenance, Bretthauer was willing to continue to mow it as a volunteer. However, the VFW has concerns because the insurance agent’s finding would put the VFW at risk should that arrangement continue.
“If there was an accident and something happened to Jerry, the insurance company would first come after the VFW as the owner of record,” he said.
The city could also be at risk, Meadows and Mayor Jason Ward agreed. They also agreed, an agreement would have to be put in writing establishing Bretthauer as a volunteer of the city.
City Attorney Mike Kelly said to craft such an agreement the city would first have to learn whether Bretthauer would be covered by the city’s policy as a volunteer on private property and also establish the agreement within the parameters of the city’s insurance policy.
Councilman Chris Donnelly, who remembered the appearance of the park property before it was purchased and cleaned, said the effort needed to be given as much attention as the council’s recent update of the city animal control regulations or the coming update on city nuisance laws.
“That’s an asset to the community,” he said. “It’s been an asset and will continue to be an asset.”